USCCB News Release
March 30, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Catholics Called To Strengthen The Church At Home
WASHINGTON—The 2010 Catholic Home Missions Appeal calls Catholics to Strengthen the Church at Home. The appeal will be made in most dioceses around the country the weekend of April 24-25.
This year, the Catholic Home Missions Appeal turns its focus to youth ministry, an essential component of the life, vibrancy and future of the Church, explained Bishop Michael W. Warfel of Great Falls-Billings, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions.
“In youth ministry programs, young Catholics grow in faith and gain valuable leadership skills. Without this appeal, some poorer dioceses might not be able to sustain vital youth programs,” Bishop Warfel said. From 2003-2007, the Catholic Home Missions Appeal gave more than $2.25 million to 130 diocesan youth ministry programs, sustaining faith formation for the next generation.
The Catholic Home Missions Appeal funds a wide range of essential pastoral activities in mission dioceses across the United States, with special emphasis on evangelization; religious education; ministry training for priests, deacons, religious sisters, and lay people; youth ministry; and support for poor parishes.
Home mission dioceses often exist in rural settings with struggling economies, long distances between parishes, and a lack of priests and lay people to sustain parishes. As the U.S. continues to recover from the economic downturn and too many Americans remain unemployed, the poorest dioceses, financially fragile in the best of times, are the most vulnerable.
Approximately 90 of the 195 Latin and Eastern-rite dioceses (eparchies) in the United States, about 45 percent, are unable to provide basic ministries of word, worship and service for their people without funding from the Catholic Home Missions Appeal. They need support from Catholics in places where the Church is financially stronger.
In the Diocese of Lexington, a 2009 grant of $125,000 from the Catholic Home Missions Appeal made it possible for nine mission parishes in Appalachia to remain open. Funds helped pay salaries and benefits for priests, pastoral assistants and office staff. In the Diocese of Salt Lake City, Home Missions supported nine seminarians. The vast diocese, which encompasses the entire state of Utah, is in dire need of priests to serve the growing Catholic population.
For more information about the Catholic Home Missions Appeal and the dioceses that benefit from it, visit: www.usccb.org/hm.